“What do you see?”
“A mountain of corpses. A sea of blood.”
“Why have you come?”
“Jing Lin.” The True Buddha lowered his gaze in compassion. “Turn back, and salvation is at hand.”1
Jing Lin raised his head and light emanated from his body. His eyes were frosty, and his clothes were soaked in blood. The front of his sword hung down to the ground, scratching it. He was surrounded by a boundless sea of blood, with countless deities and Buddhas overhead.
Jing Lin said softly, “It’s too late.”
Jing Lin set his foot on the stairs, and three thousand armors warriors among the clouds retreated simultaneously. Every step he took, the three thousand warriors took a step back. Everyone was as silent as a cicada in winter2 when they came face-to-face with him. He was clearly just one man, but the Gods of Heaven and Earth behaved as though they were confronted with a formidable enemy. He walked slowly as if he was just taking a casual stroll. As if, he was still that same old Lord Lin Song that everyone was familiar with.
The Fan Tan Lotus Pond rippled, turning turbid from the dripping droplets of blood. Li Rong, the commander of the Three Thousand Armored Warriors of Heaven, kneeled on the lotus pond with a long spear in his hand and shouted in a hoarse voice, “Jing Lin, why are you doing this? Once the day ends, you will have nowhere to go. Exactly how much hatred and resentment do you harbor? Even if he was at fault, he should be handed over to the Ninth Heaven for punishment. Why don’t you say something? Why won’t you ever say something? You are always so hell-bent on going your own way, even to the extent of ending up isolated and forsaken by friends and allies. Jing Lin—!”
Li Rong vomited blood. His eyes were red, and he was trembling all over, choking with sobs.
“—Don’t you want to live?”
Jing Lin has already reached the last step of the stairs. It was as if he had pried out all the warm, tender feelings away, leaving behind only a bone-chilling cold. The Fan Tan True Buddha picked up a flower in his hand and faced Jing Lin as the monks behind him chanted sutras in unison. The sky was filled with masses of people, but none of them stood with Jing Lin. The blade of his sword rapped lightly on the ground. He finally halted in his tracks.
A large golden coffin without a lid was laid horizontally in front of Buddha. A man was lying in the coffin under the layers of tripled-sealed Sanskrit chains. His eyes were closed, and his expression was serene as if he was in a deep sleep.
“You’ve committed a heinous crime, and yet you’re still stubborn.” With a merciful expression, the True Buddha gazed upon Jing Lin, “Your Supreme Ruler father is right in front of you, and you are still unwilling to lay down your blade. Do you want to destroy the virtuous merits of your entire life and slay your father and friends before you will stop?”
It was as if Jing Lin did not hear his words. He suddenly swept his sword, Yan Quan3, across in a horizontal arch that glowed green. The chanting of the monks came to an abrupt end. Immediately right after, a violent gale blustered out from the green arch. For a moment, the masses shielded their faces as their bodies staggered in the wind; only the True Buddha stood firm.
“Jing Lin.” The True Buddha said with benevolence. “Bow and submit to Fan Tan. Repent, and you will be absolved of your sins.”4
Lotus flowers bloomed all around him as the light from Buddha illuminated every corner. The chanting of sutras continued. Among the clouds, the three thousand heavenly warriors bellowed in unison and charged forward. The tolling of the bell on the Ninth Heaven Terrace in the distance sounded far away, and the Goddess Sheng Le looked as if she was weeping. Yet, Jing Lin did not retreat. He lunged forward, and a slash of green merged into the expanse of clanking silver armors. Dark red blossoms of blood burst open. The clouds were tinged with a layer of red as Yan Quan flashed around like mercury. The stench of blood threw everyone off balance. Some among the deities covered their mouths and noses as they retreated, glancing at Jing Lin in shock and fear. They did not know how Lord Lin Song5, whom they had seldom associated with in the past, had suddenly turned into such a god of carnage.
Blood trickled down the steps where Jing Lin passed through. He could not hear the words of dissuasion spoken by the bystanders; the only thing he could see and think of was that golden coffin. The True Buddha seemed to sigh, but to Jing Lin, he seemed so far away. When he passed Li Rong, Li Rong held up his arms to block his way, but his fingertips only managed to brush through the hem of Jing Lin’s clothes. At the moment the golden ray of light and crimson clouds intersected, they ceased to stand on the same side nor share the same path.
“Jing Lin—!” Grief suddenly welled up in Li Rong’s heart. He staggered up and reached out a hand wanting to chase after him. But he was severely wounded, and his armor was crushing down on his body. He watched as Jing Lin’s back disappeared into the golden light. The True Buddha lowered a finger as Yan Quan burst into green light. Violent winds raged between Heaven and Earth. Yan Quan had already pierced through the chains made up of Sanskrit characters to remove the head of the man in the coffin. The next moment, an infinite sea of blood surged forth in waves. The Four Lords of the Ninth Heaven cast a seal simultaneously, and the Ninth Heaven shook violently as if the clouds have been dealt a heavy blow.
The stars gathered, and the Sanskrit characters spun around as the golden light transformed into a hurricane. The chanting of monks quickened, and Jing Lin was besieged. He had fulfilled his wish. He threw the head in his hand down the stairs and slowly looked back. Li Rong’s face was awash with tears. In that very instant, he saw Jing Lin’s reply to him.
Don’t you want to live?
The way my life is now, forget it.
In a flash, Li Rong saw Jing Lin being outflanked and annihilated; even that green fluorescent glow was obliterated. From then on, Lord Lin Song no longer existed on Heaven and Earth. His past was gone and buried in the wind, eventually fading away into nothingness.
- From 苦海无边，回头是岸 literally, the sea of bitterness has no bounds, turn back to see the shore. It’s never too late to repent; repent, and salvation is at hand.
- 噤若寒蝉 literally as silent as a cicada in winter; to keep quiet out of fear.
- 咽泉剑 Yan Quan Sword; Jing Lin’s sword.
- 放下屠刀，立地成佛 literally the butcher who lays down his cleaver becomes a Buddha at once. A wrongdoer will achieve salvation as soon as he gives up evil.
- 临松君; Lord Lin Song is Jing Lin’s title.